Taka Ishii Gallery was established in 1994 and for a quarter century continues to maintain and develop an exhibition program based upon the dual goals of introducing international contemporary artists within Japan and serving as an international platform for the presentation of the work of Japanese emerging artists and contemporary masters. While the gallery aesthetic is rooted in the photographic, the program is contemporary and represents artists working in a variety of media.
In 2011, the gallery inaugurated Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film, a second space located also, in Roppongi, which serves as a forum for the presentation of works by lesser-known pre and post war Japanese photographers as well as a site for exhibiting the works by historical and contemporary photographic masters from Japan and abroad. The space also functions as a screening room in which the oftentimes overlooked, yet significant film works created by photographers are presented.
On November 2018, “SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery” opened in Starstreet Precinct, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery aims to create an experimental retail space that transcends the boundary between “gallery” and “shop” by having different artists and designers freely explore the spatial design and exhibit selected works and other products in approximately three month cycles.
Artists Represented by Taka Ishii Gallery
Some of the most prominent Japanese contemporary photographers are on the Taka Ishii Gallery roster. These include Daido Moriyama, whose experimental and uncompromising images of the 1960s examine the dissolution of traditional values in post-War Japan; Nobuyoshi Araki, whose diverse content ranges from loving pictures of his cat and Tokyo street scenes to sexually explicit photographs; Naoya Hatakeyama, who explores the tension between human intervention and nature in images revolving around the limestone in Japan that was made into cities; and Noguchi Rika, known for capturing moments of small beauty from everyday life in her poetic photographs.
Taka Ishii Gallery also represents international artists working across diverse media, including Dan Graham, a pioneer of Conceptual art in the 1960s; Elmgreen & Dragset, known for employing subversive humour to challenge the construction of social spaces in installation, performance, and sculpture; Sterling Ruby, who addresses the topics of violence and social pressures in his ceramics, videos, textiles, photographs, and sculptures; and Ei Arakawa, a performance artist whose collaborators include other artists, art historians, and members of the audience.
Exhibitions & Fairs
Founded at a time when there were few international art galleries in Tokyo, Taka Ishii Gallery gained acclaim for its inaugural exhibition Tulsa, Teenage Lust, Photo Collage, and Video, which featured American photographer Larry Clark’s works about the violence and sexual activities of American teenagers. The gallery was also the first to show the works of several international artists—like Jack Pierson and Christopher Wool—in Japan. The gallery has also organised surveys of Japanese photography such as Japanese Surrealist Photography (2017).
Demonstrating its dedication to photography, Taka Ishii Gallery regularly participates in international photo fairs, including Daikanyama Photo Fair and Paris Photo. It is also a regular presence at international art fairs such as ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair; Art Basel; Art Basel in Hong Kong; Frieze London; and Frieze Los Angeles.